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League Bulletin

January 29, 2021

WHAT HAPPENED: The General Assembly reconvened this week, and with it came the early burst of bill filing. But we're expecting a fairly slow start on things, with proposals at this point assigned to various legislative committees for vetting as attention turns to a technical COVID-19 bill up for consideration likely next week. The pandemic remains the priority issue with hospitalizations and positive tests still at a worrisome clip, which has led the governor this week to again extend the modified stay-at-home order.

WHAT IT MEANS: We'll follow and report on legislation pertinent to cities and towns, and to that end it's worth keeping in mind the deadlines for the filing of legislation, including local bills. We've listed the deadlines in this Bulletin. 

ON TAP: Municipal officials and legislators have an important date ahead -- March 3 will bring the Town & State Social: A Virtual Town Hall Connecting Legislators and Local Leaders. This is a valuable opportunity for our local leaders and state legislators to meet, interact, and hear from one another regarding the pressing issues facing our cities and towns. More details below. 

THE SKINNY: We thank you again for your involvement, which is crucial. Municipalities too are keeping involved in the vaccine effort by staying in regular contact with the state. We have an update on vaccines below. Additionally, the state has provided a group of mayors in Brunswick County helpful info after they inquired about vaccine supplies. Read on for more updates

NCLM this week unveiled its 2021-22 Municipal Legislative Goals after a months-long process that concluded with League members voting to approve 12 goals earlier this month. You can find those goals here, arranged by issue area. In total, representatives of 150 municipalities cast votes to narrow the final list of Municipal Legislative Goals down to 12. But even that number did not tell the complete story. In all, 196 municipalities were a part of the process in some form or fashion – summiting ideas, representing the Policy Committee, participating in virtual goal-generating focus groups, or casting final votes. The participating municipalities ranged in size from Fontana Dam, in the far western part of the state, to North Carolina's largest city, Charlotte. 

As the policy goals were unveiled Wednesday during our virtual Advancing Advocacy meeting, Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Neisler, who served as co-chair of the Policy Committee, noted that the remote meeting environment required by the COVID-19 pandemic served as an advantage, ultimately leading to more participation. “Looking back on this effort, I think we can all be really proud," he said. We would like to thank everyone for their involvement in this process, which is critical to advancing the needs of cities and towns before legislators and other state policymakers. 

The N.C. League of Municipalities is proud to host the annual Town & State Social: A Virtual Town Hall Connecting Legislators and Local Leaders on Wednesday, March 3 at 5 p.m., this time presented in a virtual format.

Join us for this special evening to celebrate our cities and towns, and to discuss the most critical topics facing our local governments. This is a valuable opportunity for our local leaders and state legislators to meet, interact, and hear from one another regarding the pressing issues facing our cities and towns.

The event will include policy updates from numerous legislative leaders, town hall sessions between state and local officials, and networking opportunities that aim to strengthen relationships as we move into the 2021-22 legislative biennium. We will also be exploring NCLM's Municipal Advocacy Goals, as adopted by you, our local leaders, and look at how they intersect with the challenges facing your city or town.

This won't be just another Zoom meeting. Be ready for an engaging evening, full of entertaining and valuable segments that, by evening's end, will help us in “Working As One, Advancing All." 

CLICK: Information and registration.

​An expected gust of bill filing came this week as General Assembly members returned to their seats in Raleigh. Our team will follow and report on bills of relevance to cities and towns. In the meantime, it’s important to keep track of the House and Senate deadlines for filing bills, including local bills.

Local bills in the House are due to the bill drafting office by March 3 and must be introduced by March 25.

Local bills in the Senate are due to bill drafting by Feb. 25 and must be introduced by March 11.

Local bills are filed by a legislator representing the affected area.

Other deadlines:


-Commission/interim committee recommended bills: Feb. 3 (bill drafting); March 25 (introduction)

-Agency Bills: Feb. 10; Feb. 25

-Non-appropriations/non-finance public bills: March 24; April 20

-Appropriations: March 31; April 27


All public bills: March 11; April 26.

You can follow along at

​Gov. Roy Cooper’s modified stay-at-home order, requiring people to be at home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., has been extended with Executive Order 191. “With more than 3,300 people in the hospital, and the percent of positive tests in double digits, we know this virus is still spreading,” Governor Cooper said in a news release. “And with at least one new contagious variant of COVID-19 in our state, we still have work to do. We cannot let our guard down, especially in these cold winter months."

The state updated its vaccine data dashboard this week. Information there concerns vaccine doses the state has received and guidance “to ensure equitable distribution and speed of administration.” North Carolinians can learn when they’ll become eligible for the shot via a new online tool called Find My Vaccine Group. Additional information about the vaccine rollout is at

The Board of Trustees of the Local Government Employees' Retirement System (LGERS) voted Thursday to approve the last planned 1.2 percent increase to the system's employer contribution rate for fiscal year 2021-22 – keeping with its January 2019 decision to amend the Employer Contribution Rate Stabilization Policy (ECRSP) to keep the system well-funded. This increase represents more than $80 million in additional money to the system from employers for fiscal year 2021-22. (Materials from the meeting can be viewed here).

The board voted for contribution rates for general employees to increase from the current 10.15 percent in fiscal year 2020-21 to 11.35 percent for fiscal year 2021-22. Please note that these rates for general employees are only for the pension component of your contribution rates; the death benefit contribution can vary from unit to unit for general employees and is in addition to these rates. The contribution rate for law enforcement officers increases at the same pace, rising from 10.90 percent to 12.10 percent. However, due to the “Court Cost Offset" and the Death Benefit, the contribution rate for LEOs for fiscal year 2021-22 will be 12.04 percent for most employers of LEOs.

Since 2021-22 is the last year of planned increases under the current LGERS ECRSP, the LGERS Board will start soon to discuss their plans for employer contribution rates going forward to provide predictability for employers. State Treasurer Dale Folwell assured board members that his office will include the League and N.C. Association of County Commissioners in these discussions of contribution rate policies. The systems' investments saw an 11 percent rate of return for the 2020 calendar year, beating their assumed rate of return of 7 percent. The Board voted at this week's meeting to reduce that assumed rate of return to 6.5 percent going forward.

​More than 150 local officials joined the League this week for a virtual training on Municipal Finance for Elected Officials. The League and its members were fortunate to be joined by State Auditor Beth Wood, who provided her perspective on the financial challenges facing many units of local government around the state. The League would like to thank Auditor Wood for taking the time to participate and answer questions from elected officials across N.C. Participants also heard from NCLM staff members Chris Nida and Perry James on keys to effective financial oversight from elected officials, as well as local elected officials Mayor Jay Donecker of Reidsville and City Councilman Harold Owen of Burlington on the practical aspects of real-world oversight. We thank everyone who participated in Thursday’s session and look forward to expanding on this topic in future sessions. Visit the League’s website to learn more about the resources available through the League to assist you in managing your local finances.

​In a one-sentence update on Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau stated that its “current schedule points to April 30, 2021, for the completion of the apportionment counts.” These are the population counts that chiefly update states’ presence and votes in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Electoral College. News agencies point out that the numbers were due by the end of 2020, a legal deadline, but the pandemic along with changes made by the previous presidential administration pushed out the delivery. The Census Bureau has said many times in recent months that it wants to make sure the data is solid and without question before its release.